Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Netherlands Adventures!: Jack Arrives!!

I mentioned in my previous post that I ended my Christmas in Amsterdam.  I didn't go back to The Hague because the next day, my boyfriend, Jack, and his dad were arriving at Schipol airport!  So I got a bed in a hostel so that I could be closer to the airport than I was in The Hague.  I didn't get much sleep that night.  I kept waking up every 1-2 hours because I was so excited!  Four months is a long time to be away from anyone, but especially your significant other, I've discovered.  

I woke up around 5:00 and tried so hard to be quiet in that room, but... I don't know how well that worked.  No one yelled at me though.  Once I got to Schipol, I waited for what seemed like ages until Jack and Matt walked through the sliding doors into the arrivals hall and then a very happy reunion was had.  Afterwards, I whisked them off to Leiden where our hotel was located.  The problem was, Jack and Matt had arrived so early that we couldn't check into the hotel and every place to visit or get food in the Netherlands was closed for several more hours.  So we waited in the hotel lobby until the weather became less crappy and it got lighter out.  Then we struck out and I showed Jack and Matt Leiden.  Where I lived, where I went to school, the Frisian bakery where we got yummy baked goods and sandwiches sometimes, and also the Museum Boerhaave, which is a science museum.  I had been there once before (although I didn't blog about it) and while walking through the rooms filled with mathematical and physics instruments, I couldn't help but think, "Jack would LOVE this place!"  And when I took him to see these instruments, he did really like it.  Given that this was Jack and Matt's first day in Europe, that was about as much as they could handle before they really needed a nap.  And I needed a nap too.  Waking up every 1-2 hours the night before was rough.

The next day, we all went to Amsterdam.  I tried to show Jack and Matt the Anne Frank house, but when we arrived, the line was between three and five hours long.  Given that it takes about an hour to make your way through the Annex itself, the line wasn't really worth it.  Jack and Matt would have gone in if the line hadn't been so bad or if we had tickets, but they weren't so into the idea of visiting the Anne Frank house that they would have waited in that line.  I'd seen the house twice, once on my own and once with my family, so if they didn't want to see, it's not like I was missing out.  So instead, we went to the other side of town because I wanted to show them the Dutch Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum).  I had gone once before for my history class and I absolutely loved it, despite the tragic subject matter.

A bike with a small front tire, because rubber was rationed.
Printing presses that people used to produce underground newspapers.  This was very dangerous because the printing press was quite loud, which is how many were discovered and how many people were arrested during World War II.
Baby carriage with grenades and a gun hidden away.
After liberation day.
I think Jack and Matt appreciated the visit, but they are interested in other parts of history that I am not that interested in.  But it was still nice of them to humor me a little bit.

The next place we visited was nearby:  The Maritime museum, or the Scheepvart museum.  On the map, there was a picture of a boat and Jack and I figured that Matt would like it, so we made it a priority to go.  Indeed, floating in the harbor was a replica of a Dutch East India Trading Company ship (the original, I think, is still in a wreck off the coast of England).  

Found another "I Am Amsterdam" sign!  The other one is behind the Rijksmuseum on the museumplein.

Children playing with the cannon.  The cannon was encouraging because it had explosion sounds once you'd "cleaned" it and "loaded" it.

After exploring the inside of the boat, we went back in the museum where we found an exhibit on whales.

Model whale heart.
You can go inside this whale and look through the eye and move it around.  Matt scared the crap out of me when he did that.
After we finished at the Maritime museum, it was getting dark out, but there was still one more thing that we wanted to see.  Jack and Matt had heard of a street artist who went to various cities around the world and puts Space Invaders on walls.  There were a few in Amsterdam at one point, but we only had time to look for one that night.  It's on the same canal as the Anne Frank house (Prinsengracht) but it's quite a bit of a walk from the Anne Frank house.  It took a while to find it once we got to the right intersection, since it was dark, but we did find it!

Amsterdam at night.
Found it!  Matt is trying to get a good picture of it, since I couldn't.  It's on the pillar towards the bottom of the picture.
It was a good end of the day in Amsterdam.  Afterwards, we headed back to Leiden and from there, got Pannekouken for dinner!  My pannekouken had bananas and powdered sugar-- so good!

After a good night's rest, we all got up at our leisure.  Matt decided that he didn't want to go to Amsterdam today, so he found his way to Delft instead.  But Jack and I wanted to try and see the Van Gogh museum, since I hadn't been there yet.  When we got there though, the line was long (granted it was the afternoon) and we decided that we didn't want to see the museum bad enough to join the line that wrapped around this enormous building.  So when we come back to Amsterdam, we'll try and see it then.  So we left the Museumplein altogether.  I noticed that we were in the area of the Vondelpark though, so I asked if Jack wanted to see that, and he did.  To the Vondelpark!

Elder bird!

It was such a nice day-- the sun was out and it wasn't super cold out either.  It was nice to walk around just the two of us and talk and laugh together.  Jack and I had been apart for four months and we hadn't really had a chance to be alone since he landed in Amsterdam.  Finally, we'd walked around for long enough where we just wanted to sit for a while.  So we found a bench that was in a quiet part of the park and sat down for a while.  And then something exciting happened:

"Do you want to remember this place forever?"
We had a good cry and then of course I said yes :)  
We don't have any definite plans yet, but we're looking at August 2016!  You'll probably hear more about that as the day gets closer.

After this day, we left Amsterdam and went to Berlin, but I'll write about that in a different post, since this one is rather long already.

Thanks for Reading!  Tot Ziens!


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